Google axes 170,000 ‘right to be forgotten’ links

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Google has received nearly 150,000 requests for links to be removed under Europe's "right to be forgotten" ruling, amounting to almost half a million URLs, figures from the U.S. search giant show.

The controversial "right to be forgotten" allows users to ask search engines such as Google to remove links that contain irrelevant or outdated information about them, following a ruling in May by the European Union's top court, the European Court of Justice.

In the end, Google removed 171,183 links, or 41.8 percent of all requests across the EU, but refused to delete the remaining 238,714 URLs.

Read MoreGoogle removes results under 'right to be forgotten'

World Wide Web founder Tim-Berners Lee branded the measure "draconian" last week underlining the opposition to it from Internet freedom advocates.

France tops request leaderboard

Following the ruling in May, Google introduced an online form for users to request to have unwanted links removed. Google has evaluated 498,737 URLs to expunge from the 146,357 requests it received. France topped the leaderboard of applications made with 29,140 requests amounting to 89,277 links under consideration. Over half those URLs were removed.

Germany, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands followed.

Facebook links most removed

The U.S. technology giant's report also revealed that Facebook links were the most removed from search results, followed by a social media site Profile Engine. YouTube was third.

Read MoreMicrosoft taking 'right to be forgotten' requests

The report also gave examples of requests that were removed or rejected.

"We received multiple requests from a single individual who asked us to remove 20 links to recent articles about his arrest for financial crimes committed in a professional capacity. We did not remove the pages from search results," read one assessment of an Italian application.

"An individual requested that we remove close to 50 links to articles about an embarrassing private exchange that became public. The pages have been removed from search results for his name," a request from Germany showed.